When Daniel Bryan and Rowan returned to SmackDown Live and earned themselves the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, they were making a statement. The tag team division has been sorely lacking for years, not due to lack of talent, but due to lack of direction and legitimacy.
In general, it’s hard to put much time and effort into caring about something that even WWE doesn’t seem to care about. This is unfortunate as tag team wrestling has been so great and essential for the well-being of wrestling for decades within WWE, outside of WWE and everywhere in between. It’s also strange that WWE isn’t able to capture the glory of the division as they have in the past considering the tag team divisions in NXT and everywhere on the independents are still booming.
This is why both Bryan and Rowan promised change when interviewed following their Title win. When the interviewer jokingly asked about the leather straps of the Championships in reference to Bryan’s hemp WWE Championship he sported for months, Bryan made it clear that the tag team division should be no laughing matter despite what WWE has led us to believe.
“Is that a joke? There’s lots of joking around in the tag team division apparently. Like it’s a joke like I’m not going to have these changed. But speaking of jokes and speaking of the tag team division, think of The Usos. What were they doing on Raw last night? Joking around, as if the tag team division is some sort of joke. And what about Heavy Machinery? Joking around as if the tag team division is some sort of joke. And what about The New Day? joking around like being the Tag Team Champions is some sort of joke.
They talk about a women’s evolution, about women main eventing WrestleMania. Do you know who’s never talked about main eventing WrestleMania? It’s the tag team division and do you know why? Because for years, they’ve been led by jokers like The New Day, like The Usos, like Heavy Machinery. And they go out there and they do Thanksgiving turkey fights and they’ll do Halloween contests.
We are not those kind of Tag Team Champions. And speaking of which, there’s going to be a tag team evolution and this one isn’t going to be one dictated to us by the McMahons. No, this is going to be self-led, a self-led evolution because Kofi Kingston, The New Day, they never aspired to that, they never aspired to that level. Neither did The Usos, they were content to just be great tag teams.
We’re not content to just be great, we are going to be the greatest tag team of all time. We are going to main event WrestleMania as tag team champions and we are going to aspire higher. And nobody is going to stop the planet’s Team Team Champions.”
While it’s hard to put any kind of faith in this new angle actually taking off and creating change, it’s still nice to have hope that WWE is trying to make a positive change on a dying division.
Bryan has proven in the past to be one of the most over babyface and hated heels regardless of his role and if anyone can draw eyes towards the tag division, it will be him.